Politecnico di Torino is facing a new season of growth, interaction with the local society, and openness to internationalisation. In this season, the issue of spaces and their quality certainly constitutes one of the university’s strategic nodes. If, in fact, a quantitative increase in the resources is a necessary condition for extending the educational offering and collaboration with enterprises and industrial partners, the quality - functional, capacity, architectonic - of the spaces distinguishes an internationally ranked University. On the one hand, then, this growth must experiment with innovative configurations of spaces for working, research, gaining knowledge, promoting the evolution of the campuses into authentic innovation and sustainability hubs. On the other hand, the Campus must qualify as a place to be lived in, enhancing the liveability of the sites, and making it a place for debate and a space for getting together.
Starting from the end of the 1990s, Politecnico launched an expansion programme - the so-called “Raddoppio sull’area Ex-OGR” (“Doubling in the former OGR area”), then the “Progetto della Cittadella Politecnica” (“Politecnico Village Project”). This programme increased spaces and resources by re-purposing the former turneries and forges and creating the underground courtyard, overpasses and services, such as the multi-level parking building and cafeteria. It was completed in 2009. Thus, in launching this new season of growth and development, in 2017, a new, original and complex path was started, which integrates cultures and expertise in developing a strategic project: the University Masterplan. After a first phase that involved a very broad steering group and project team, the Masterplan has, since 2018, responded directly to the Chancellor, involving the Masterplan Team research group, Edilog, and the Green Team in the activity flow coordinated by the CDPS (Corporate Control and Strategic Projects).
The Masterplan represents an element of novelty and innovation at a national and international level. It is where the different demands submitted by multiple members of the polytechnic community are transformed into concrete planning: a “table” for dialogue and sharing in which the spatialisation of demands, needs, and opportunities makes it possible to highlight limits, critical issues, and conveniences. The Masterplan does not, therefore, produce solutions but alternative prefigurations of possible futures: it constructs a scenario of places with a flexible temporal character and horizon, oriented to the development of their potential. In addition, it makes it possible to clarify conflicts and the different visions present within each planning choice, thus being configured as a valuable kind of mediation serving University governance and accompanying, up close, both the implementation and future reviews of the University Strategic Plan.
As well as internally, the Masterplan also has the purpose of sharing, mediating, and organising University development projects with local stakeholders (City of Turin, Metropolitan Area, Piedmont Region, Superintendence, economic and social organisations and actors, etc.); thus, it contributes to developing and improving the quality of the urban, environmental, cultural, economic, and social context.